IT looks like we’re in for a livelier Christmas, with health protocols and “alert levels” slowly easing up. Finally, some Filipinos will now be able to reunite with their families. But for most of us, the holidays will be spent remembering the loved ones who are no longer with us.
Award-winning duo Leanne and Naara made the right approach by sharing a bittersweet Christmas song that is packed with emotional fullness that everyone can easily relate to. COVID-19 may have stolen two years of our lives, but leave it to Leanne & Naara’s “Waste the Holidays” to provide the comfort that this year needs.
“Posting Christmas covers have been our tradition since we started and part of our bucket list is to release an original Christmas song and we’re grateful because finally we have one now! If you listen to the lyrics of the song, it somehow speaks about hope in the midst of a pandemic that even if we’re experiencing difficulties in life right now, we know that there’s still light at the end of the tunnel,” Naara shares about their latest release. “Christmas makes me feel nostalgic and I’m glad that this song has that kind of vibe. We’re happy that we’re able to release a song that gives hope and light to everyone.”
We’re all so used to hearing upbeat holiday tunes come ber-months. Leanne & Naara, on the other hand, has that known sincerity that allowed them to recognize that not all of us will hold celebrations with joy and cheer. Written by Sam Akins and Xerxes Bakker, “Waste The Holidays” is the kind of holiday music that speaks volumes despite its brevity. It acknowledges the difficulty of riding out the ongoing pandemic, and also holds a light up for those that are looking out for that spark to keep their heads up.
While music may not be as effective as vaccines against the virus, it’s helpful enough for anyone trying to unburden their hearts at this time of year. “I think what really made us choose this song is it immediately made us feel warm the first time we listened to it,” Leanne said. “I think Sam was able to capture the essence of what we wanted in our Christmas song. We wanted it to be as raw and simple as possible, because sometimes that’s the best way to celebrate it.”
It has been a hectic two years for the young artists. Despite the challenges of lockdown, Leanne and Naara were quick to make the most out of quarantine with intimate livestreams, exclusive performances, music videos, and a podcast. These, plus the launch of their first album Daybreak and its accompanying virtual concert, were able to put that much-needed smile on their fans’ faces despite the required social distance. On what they want their listeners to ponder while listening to their first Christmas song, they say, “We want to encourage them to take a look at the things that are usually taken for granted. This song tells us that if you look more closely, there’s so many things that we can be thankful for despite the challenges that this pandemic has brought. We want our listeners to feel hopeful after listening to this song.”
“The past year up until now has been really hard but I think we should not lose hope and believe that better days will come in His own perfect time. Faith is what keeps me going,” Naara adds.
Coming from a big win at the recently concluded Awit Awards, it’s safe to assume that aside from faith, what also keeps Leanne and Naara going is heartfelt gratitude. “It’s a dream come true,” Leanne says about winning Album of the Year. “We would always talk about this when we were just starting out so to see the realization of that dream is such a gift. I think the best part about it is that we were able to celebrate with the people who made it all possible. Our Warner Music Philippines family surprised us when we were in Baguio and we had a mini celebration with our producer, Brian Lotho, when we got back. It feels good to end the year like this. We’re very grateful.” The duo also won Best R&B Recording for their single “Too Soon.”
Along with the release of “Waste The Holidays,” watch out for a YouTube Christmas special accompanying the project. “It has been our dream to have an intimate gig where there’s a fireplace and we’re happy because that dream of ours came true. We shot it in Baguio – a perfect place to have a Christmas special because it’s cold and it makes you want to drink some hot coffee or chocolate! We will be singing a couple of our original songs, Christmas cover and of course our first official Christmas track, ‘Waste The Holidays’.” When asked if they would do anything different if they performed for a live crowd, Leanne says, “I think we would have done it the same way. We’d make it very intimate, with warm lights, and maybe ask our family to sing with us. That would be really fun and it’d be something new.”
Celebrate the holidays with Leanne & Naara’s “Waste The Holidays,” now on Spotify, iTunes, and Apple Music. For the latest updates on your favorite musicians, follow Leanne & Naara and Warner Music Philippines on their social media pages.